Kazan Cathedral

09 October 2013

Kazanskiy Sobor (Казанский Собор) is a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church on Nevsky Prospekt. It is dedicated to the most venerated icon in Russia, Our Lady of Kazan (Казанская Богоматерь).

The church has an unusual look for Russian standards, since it was modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Construction started in the beginning of the 19th century, and lasted for 10 years. The Russian Orthodox Church strongly opposed architect Adrey Voronikhin’s plan to create a replica of a Catholic basilica, but he found support in several courtiers.

After the Napoleonic war in 1812 the church achieved a legendary status: commander-in-chief Mikhail Kutuzov (Михаил Кутузов) asked Our Lady of Kazan for help, and once the war was over, the cathedral was seen as a memorial to the Russian victory. Kutuzov was buried in the cathedral, and even Pushkin wrote lines in honor of his grave.

A lot of political facts are linked to the cathedral: in 1876 the Kazan demonstration, the first political protest in Russia, took place in front of the church. The church was closed after the Russian revolution, and reopened later as the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism. It was only in 1996 that the cathedral returned to its previous religious function.

Now it is the mother cathedral in St. Petersburg, and everyone can enjoy its many sculptures and icons created by the best Russian artists.

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